How to Use GPS For Geocaching?

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GPS units are essential for geocaching. Without a good GPS device, geocaching would be nearly impossible to do. You could play this game with paper maps, but it would be very time consuming and confusing. Anyway, when you want to indulge in this game you should know how to use your GPS model. Once you figure out the basics, you will be able to quickly find your cache and prizes while beating the competition.

use geocaching gps

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is simply a treasure hunting game where people search for hidden items by using their Geocaching GPS unit. This game has been around since the early 2000s and it really became popular between 2003 and 2005. Since that time, people continue to enjoy this experience. Geocaching has grown throughout the years and has become a dynamic game for people to enjoy.

What Devices Are the Best For Geocaching?


How Do You Play Geocaching?

To play a game of geocaching you will have to register with a geocaching site. Once you are registered you will then be able to view the “Hide and Seek” pages. These pages are important to the game. They provide maps and coordinates to wear the caches are hidden by game sponsors or hosts.

Once you have this information you will need to enter it into your GPS device and go find the hidden items. You can also take pictures or draw out the maps. This will help you to get a better idea about where to find the hidden treasures. If you can find the hidden cache, you will need to sign the logbook. After you do this you are encouraged to share your geocaching adventure with other site members.

GPS Devices and GPS Enabled Phones or Tablets

GPS devices and GPS-enabled mobile phones or tablets are the equipment that will be used to play this game. You should also use your car because most of the caches will not be located near you. However, you can search for caches located near your residence by using your zip code when starting a new game. GPS enabled phones or tablets can also be used for this game. Download a good GPS app to use for your mobile device. Once you have the app installed on your phone, you can now use it to play the game.

Your GPS Device must have the Ability to Load and Read Coordinates

Not all GPS units are the same. Some GPS units will show you a map of an area, but they don’t have features that will allow you to use coordinates. Loading coordinates into your device is the only way that you will be able to find caches. Now, you can copy the maps that you find on the “Hide and Seek” pages. However, it will only get you into a general area where the cache is located. You will need the coordinates to pinpoint the exact location of the hidden goodies. Make sure that your GPS device has the ability to load and read coordinates.

GPS Devices and Software

You can purchase or download software for your GPS device. This software will allow users to set pinpointed coordinates for a Hide and Seek map. This can be useful for helping a person to quickly reach an area where a cache is hidden. Remember, there might be some geocache games where you have to compete against other people or other teams. Sometimes, players will have to find a cache before the competition. This means that time is important. So, waypoints (pinpointed coordinates) are essential for helping players to quickly reach an area.

Keep in mind that advance level geocache players often hide their stashes in hard to find areas. The areas they choose still might be hard to reach even with accurate coordinates. There are some places around every city (or countryside) that can be difficult to locate because of the land formations, structures, or their position. GPS technology is good at tracking a lot of locations, but they do have blind spots. So, some geocache hosts or sponsors can use these blind spots to throw off players.

Remember, the coordinates can get you into an area near the cache but that doesn’t mean it will be directed where the coordinates meet. Having the waypoints will help you to quickly find what you’re searching for when your GPS has a blind spot. This is because the waypoints will be loaded onto your device. You can use them when your GPS unit is experiencing blind spots. They will also help you to locate hard to find objects within an area.

Advanced GPS Features for Geocaching

Your GPS unit can come with advanced features. These features could include functions such as:


It is for measuring air pressure and gauging weather. This is a useful tool for geocaching in wide-open landscapes.

Electronic Compass

It is to keep track of direction in the event your GPS unit fails or is not working properly.

Wireless Transmission

This function is used for transmitting information to different players or teammates.

Preloaded Maps

It is to help you find different locations that might not show up on the GPS unit.

Two-Way Radio

For communicating with nearby players or teammates.

Digital Camera

This will allow you to take pictures that can be used to validate your cache finds. You can also use it to highlight your adventure.

Advanced features simply allow you to play this game more effectively and more efficiently.

Final Words

You should take extra batteries for your GPS unit if it runs off battery power. You should also have a mobile charger device to keep your GPS unit at full power if it is a charging model. Your unit should be powered up enough to get you through the game. You should also make sure that you purchase a durable unit that can handle drops or hits. Sometimes, when you’re searching for a cache this will happen. So, smartphone GPS users should make sure they have a durable case that will protect their phones when they’re out in nature.

Finally, make sure you can read your GPS unit and understand its functions. If you don’t know how to properly operate your device, your geocaching game will quickly start to suck. To keep it entertaining and fun, make sure you know what you’re doing with your GPS unit. This is the best way to have a good time.

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